I Would Change The World For My Girls

In light of the horrific tragedies of this week in Orlando I’ve decided to keep my Disney vaca posts in the queue until next week. But I wanted to share a quote that as a parent I found really appropriate and couldn’t be more fitting right now. 

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Every single day I worry about my kids’ futures, their well being, their health, their happiness. I look at the world so differently now as a parent, wondering what mankind will look like as my children grow when today it’s so incredibly ugly. Not a day passes that we don’t hear of some act of violence or proclamations of hatred and it seems as of late these are becoming more and more frequent. I worry for my kids what world they’re going to live in and if this violence will end for them. I would do anything in my power to protect them from this horror but some day our world will be their world and what can I do for them then? 

I’ve noticed now more than ever the flaws in mankind, our inability to just be kind to one another, to genuinely appreciate each other, and to respect one another. People are so busy competing with one another, pulling other people down, judging, thinking they’re better, instead of realizing how wonderful the world could be without doing that. I’ve always said that I don’t see color, race, sexuality, I see if someone is kind, if they’re a good person. And my girls will do the same, no matter the world they live in, they will see people for who they are and hopefully they’ll see a world that looks a lot better than what mine does.

And what I’m reminded of after so many acts of cruelty is that my girls’ future begins with me and all parents. Our children need to be taught how to treat each other with kindness and that begins now. Sadly they’ll learn of all of these horrific events and my only hope is that that won’t be their reality, that their world will look so different, and that human beings will finally get it. We were all created and put here by the same being and if we truly lived a life of happiness, compassion, unity, what a world it would be. My hope is that our species will wake up and realize the error of our ways and live better lives for our kids. Every single person can do better and be better. 

And as of two days ago, I was reminded again just how precious and fragile our lives are when a tragic accident occurred in Disney World to an innocent baby boy. My heart aches for this family, for these parents, and for that sweet boy who lost his life too soon. I can’t stop thinking of this family of four vacationing in such a magical place, just like we had a few weeks ago, when something so horrible happened. After I heard the news I snuck into my girls’ bedrooms to give them one last tearful hug and kiss goodnight. And I couldn’t help but think of the irony in these two events happening one right after the other. Life is so precious and fragile, a real gift, and in a second, a terrifying accident like this poor boy’s ordeal can take it away. That’s the flaw in God’s design but that’s an accident. We don’t need purposeful, violent acts doing the same.

 And just in reading some of the comments on this family’s tragedy I’m disheartened even more in so many people’s lack of compassion and their need to blame someone. In accidents like this where parents lost their baby, people should feel nothing but sympathy and empathy, never judgement. We need to change, our world needs to change. Look in yourself and be a better person, love others, smile at strangers, hug someone if they’re crying, truly treat others how you would want to be treated. 

I look at my girls this rainy morning as I’m typing this post, one snug on the sofa watching Big Hero 6 and the other gobbling down strawberry Cheerios, and I truly thank God I have this moment. I pray that I’ll have a million more with my family. I pray for everyone in Orlando who’s suffered so tremendously this past week. And now more than ever I’m going to hug my girls a lot tighter and enjoy this day with them.

Sincerely,

Lindsay

Disney’s Magic Begins: 2016 Vacation Wrap Up!

Finally fourteen months and one more little girl later we returned to Disney World. Not only was this our baby girl’s first trip to Disney but also our first vaca as a family of four aka Dan and my first vacation with two very small little girls. With disposable bottles, squeezable baby foods, containers of formula, and diapers, diapers, diapers all packed in every nook and cranny of our suitcases, we were off early and driving, shuttling, flying, and busing to Disney!

The flying part of any vacation is probably the part I worry the most about, flying wise and in general with small kids. We’ve traveled quite a bit with our first daughter and some flights have certainly been rougher than others, so for this one we weren’t really sure what to expect from our newest flyer. So I packed my Disney backpack aka diaper bag aka snack cooler aka Mommy’s a pack mule for her little girls and we buckled up for that sometimes very long 2 1/2 hour flight. For baby I made sure we had plenty of nibblers from dried fruit and puffs to gold fish and yogurt melts along with the essential bottle for taking off. And then there were the not so small and not so easy to pack baby toys which were overflowing out of the backpack, and yes all of them were played with since a crawling baby only likes sitting for two minutes not two hours. But with her sister occupied beside her eating her bagel while coloring, playing a PBS kids game on the ipad, or watching a Disney favorite, our baby managed to have a cat nip for the first bit leaving the last half with Mommy and Daddy playing pass the potato. But 2 1/2 hours later and we landed in sunny and humid, I mean really humid, Florida! Disney 2016 (29)

A grueling 15 minutes later of repetitive “Mommy are we here yet?” while the pilot slowly parked and everyone disembarked ahead of us, we were finally free! With two girls changed into summer Disney gear and plopped in the double stroller (which was such a blessing!), we headed straight for the Magical Express. Nothing beats catching your first glimpses of Disney at Orlando’s airport, checking in with your magic band, and your girls getting their first princess greetings, you know the fun is just beginning!

During the final leg to Disney, the anticipation was a little too much for our toddler who fell asleep during the intro videos aboard the Magical Express. But not her little sister who’s tiny cat nap seemed enough to beat that early morning wake up call, for now at least. Once we arrived at our home away from home for the week, the Polynesian Villas, our toddler woke without too much trouble, especially once she got her special flower necklace, which she wore proudly for the days ahead.  Disney 2016 (30)

We checked in and took a little walk around our new hotel. We normally stay at the Wilderness Lodge which is by far our favorite Disney home but as our first vaca with DVC we opted for a special treat and decided to try the Polynesian. It was gorgeous and a wonderful change, but I’ll spend a whole post just reviewing the hotel later! So after our toddler took in the tiki man in the lobby and Minnie dressed in her hula skirt in the hall we headed straight to Magic Kingdom via the monorail. We were there in no time and soon enough standing on Main Street staring straight at the castle.

I remember a few years ago on our toddler’s first Disney trip when we finally made it to Magic Kingdom she had just fallen asleep after our long morning of travel. So the fact that her little sister was awake, a little hot and blinky from the bright sun, but taking it all in was really special. She couldn’t get enough of the hustle bustle but her favorite were the Mickey balloons flying above her, someone is just like her sister. So a Mickey balloon for two it was, red was the choice this year and our toddler even got to play the role of a coveted Disney Balloon Cast Member for a minute!  Disney 2016 (4)

Balloon split between four tiny hands, we headed off for our first rides and lunch. Small World, Peter Pan, Cinderella’s Carousel, are always top on the list of firsts and for a certain tiny little girl these I’m sure will become favorites like they are for her sister. Finally it was time for our first Disney meal, a Mickey pretzel and fresh fruit of course for the girls and a turkey leg for this Mommy and Daddy. This is by far one of our favorite lunches at Magic Kingdom, a Frontierland favorite and conveniently located next to the Mickey pretzels! Smoked turkey meat that fills any starving vacationer for their afternoon of fun, absolutely delicious! The only downside are the carnivorous tall, skinny birds that you see lurking around Frontierland, well they just so happen to love turkey legs and aren’t shy about it. Their presence wasn’t exactly welcomed with our toddler who literally fell off her seat trying to escape them, thankfully Mommy and Daddy were there to protect her. 

We decided pre-vacation to take the first day pretty easy and call it an early one, with no dinner reservations. In the past we’ve all been too exhausted, mainly the miniature, to really enjoy a meal so we figured short and sweet this time would be the way to go, absolutely right decision. We enjoyed an afternoon of rides at the park before we got caught in a massive downpour and headed back to the Polynesian. Once the monorail brought us back home we stopped into Captain Cook’s for a “quick dinner,” which thanks to the rain made the wait for dinner a little lengthier than we wanted. But after speaking to the chef I was able to enjoy a sandwich, nothing spectacular, but just enough so we could call it an early night in our Tokelau suite! Disney 2016 (32)

Stay tuned for more Disney fun and gluten free deliciousness from our 2016 Disney Vacation!

Sincerely,

Lindsay

VitaMom’s 8 Vacation Essentials For Baby

While I’m working feverishly on my yet to be disclosed project, while moonlighting as Gluten Free Mom To Be, I’m still a VitaMom over on Vitamed’s Mom Blog. And since we just returned from our Disney vacation I thought it was fitting to share my newest VitaMom post on Baby’s Vacation Essentials! Also, stay tuned here for my Disney vaca recap along with a little someone’s first birthday planning!

Sincerely,

Lindsay

Gluten Free Disney Favorites And Never Have I Ever Disney Treats Part 3

We’re in the final stretch until our vacation and I for one cannot wait for everything Disney. But of course top on my list is all of the gluten free deliciousness! So I thought I’d share one more gluten free favorite, along with one

Gluten Free Kona Cafe’s Pan-Asian Noodles noodles

It’s been years since I’ve had lomein. I’ve made many attempts to recreate a gluten free version but never came close to making it just right. My once favorite Asian inspired noodle dish has been a thing of the past for quite awhile, until I found Kona Cafe! Perfectly cooked rice noodles with crispy, fresh veggies, and grilled chicken, all coated in a gluten free teriyaki sauce, it’s absolute perfection. Not to mention, portion enough for two people or two meals! This is by far one of my favorite dinners in Disney and is always the one that I look forward to returning to the most. I can’t wait until I can enjoy these Gluten Free Pan-Asian Noodles again!

Never Have I Ever Had Gluten Free Beef Brisket, Frushi, and Lemon Scones! macaron

We’re not total newbies to the Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot, but this year with baby on my hip instead of in my belly I get to eat and drink without restrictions! Normally in Epcot I struggle at lunchtime trying to find something that my picky tastes and diet restrictions will allow. But thanks to the festival, this trip my lunch list is filled with small bites and sweet treats! From barbecue like ribs and brisket to sweets like frushi, scones, and macarons, Gluten Free Gigi has given me quite a few things to look forward to. First on my list though is their new macaron, raspberry with chocolate fudge, brings back amazing memories of their marshmallow one in festivals past!

Sincerely,

Lindsay

Gluten Free Disney Favorites And Never Have I Ever Disney Treats Part 2

It’s time for another Disney gluten free favorite! Every vacation this list grows and grows so it’s getting tougher to choose my favorites but I can’t deny this Disney classic. Anytime I can just walk up to the counter, double check that the ingredients haven’t changed, and order an item as is because it’s already gluten free, that’s a huge win in my book. Lucky for any gluten free Disney goers, you can do this at quite a few spots! Check out my favorite treat to cool down with in the epic Orlando summer heat!

Gluten Free Dole Whip dole whip

On those scorching hot Disney days nothing cools you down better than an ice cold, but quickly melting, Dole Whip. Pineapple soft serve, or in my case swirled with vanilla, floating in pineapple juice is perfection. Kind of like a tropical take on a rootbeer float, but so much better! These are my must have snack for all my Disney vacations, especially those extra tired, extra pregnant days in Magic Kingdom. Definitely counting down the minutes, hours, and seconds until I get to have one of these again!

Never Have I Ever Had A Flourless Chocolate Cake In Cinderella’s Castle!

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Flourless Chocolate Cake With Berry Compote (Image courtesy of Gluten Free In Orlando)

Another non-Disney day, another gluten free treat added to my wish list, thanks to Alexis at Gluten Free In Orlando. This trip we made an ADR at Cinderella’s castle, the perfect dinner spot for our miniature princesses. Since our toddler loves her Disney movies and dressing up like her favorites, this meal was a no brainer. And even though dining in the castle and meeting the princesses is a dream come true,  I’m personally looking forward to a certain part of my gluten free meal! How about this amazingly beautiful flourless chocolate cake with berry compote that Gluten Free In Orlando raved about? I love flourless chocolate cakes but I have yet to have one in the most magical place on earth, not to mention one that looks as appetizing as this. Absolutely adding this one to my meal!

Stay tuned for more Disney favorites and more Never Have I Ever Disney treats!

Sincerely,

Lindsay

Gluten Free Disney Favorites And Never Have I Ever Disney Treats

The countdown is officially on until our return to Disney World! This vacation though is minus one pregnant belly but plus one baby, a double stroller, and suitcase overflowing with diapers, foods, and bottles. And as a gluten free mommy I couldn’t be more excited for the deliciousness that Disney holds! So in honor of past and future Disney treats that I’ll be enjoying, I thought I’d share some of my gluten free favorites and a Never Have I Ever list of gluten free Disney treats that are in our plans!

Gluten Free Mickey Waffles DSC_0340 (2)

A Disney classic! You can’t escape a Disney trip without eating something Mickey shaped. But if you’re gluten free, you’re options are limited in this department. Luckily breakfast locales throughout the parks and resorts offer gluten free versions of their breakfast staple. Behold these beauties, gluten free and just as pretty as my daughter’s regular waffles. They’re amazing and a must have for any Disney vacation. But, not all dining locations offer these, some offer your standard frozen gluten free waffles so make sure you do your research before making your dining reservations. Our favorite character breakfast at Chef Mickey’s offers these along with a delicious plate of my breakfast favorites, like a cheesy hashbrown! Check out one of my favorite Chef Mickey breakfasts!

Never Have I Ever Had Gluten Free Beignets!

Gluten Free Beignets (Image Courtesy of Gluten Free In Orlando)

I spend many of my non-Disney days living vicariously through Alexis over at Gluten Free In Orlando. Her blog is filled with gluten free Disney delights which inspire many a Disney trip around here. Hence these fluffy, powder sugar covered pastries that come in a gluten free version at Port Orleans! Pre-babies and pre-gluten free, my husband and I took a couple weekend trips to New Orleans and enjoyed Cafe Du Monde’s beignets. They were amazing, to say the least, and have been greatly missed in my years since. But we’re officially on board to try Disney’s gluten free version on our upcoming trip! Yay!

Stay tuned next week for more Disney favorites and more Never Have I Ever Disney treats!

Sincerely,

Lindsay

My Favorite Gluten Free Side: Asparagus Rollatini

Too many years ago, I first tasted the deliciousness of Asparagus Rollatini at our favorite fine dining restaurant. Unfortunate for me, their version was gluten filled, which made it’s way onto my no go list soon after. Among other restricted foods, I took losing my new favorite appetizer pretty hard. But little did I know just how simple this dish could be. Literally 5 ingredients, well my version anyway, and free of gluten and equally delicious! Just pick your favorite fresh asparagus spears (I prefer thin ones), salami or prosciutto your choice, provolone cheese, olive oil, and your favorite seasoned bread crumbs, and voila Asparagus Rollatini!

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When I say this is a favorite for me, I should actually mention that it’s a favorite for everyone. It’s my go to dish for holidays and dinner parties and surely a party pleaser for all! So without further ado, check out my Gluten Free Asparagus Rollatini!

Sincerely, 

Lindsay

Gluten Free Asparagus Rollatini
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Ingredients
  1. Fresh, Thin Asparagus Spears (1 Bundle)
  2. 1/2 Pound Sliced Salami/Prosciutto (Black Bear is GF)
  3. 1/2 Pound Sliced Provolone (Black Bear is GF)
  4. Olive Oil
  5. Gluten Free Seasoned Bread Crumbs (My favorite is 4C)
Instructions
  1. Boil asparagus until tender, about 5-10 minutes depending on their size.
  2. Once cooked, drain and shock asparagus under cold water.
  3. Gather 2-3 asparagus spears and wrap in 1 slice salami then 1 slice provolone.
  4. Line all bundles up in a large 9 x 13 baking dish.
  5. Drizzle top of bundles with olive oil.
  6. Top with seasoned gluten free bread crumbs. (My new favorite is 4C)
  7. Heat in oven at 350 degrees for 7-10 minutes, just until cheese melts.
Notes
  1. This is a perfect side or appetizer for any meal!
Gluten Free Mom To Be http://www.glutenfreemomtobe.com/

Baby’s First Disney Vacation: How Young Is Too Young?

The most exciting part of our Disney countdown has begun. We’re in the last few weeks before our trip and it’s finally time to make my packing list, start the pre-Disney shopping, and once we get to that last week finally start the packing! Some people hate the prep for a vacation but I love it. And this one specifically is so special for so many reasons. It’s our first as DVC members, our first as a family of four, the first Disney trip our toddler understands and is counting down with us towards,and best of all it’s our baby girl’s very first Disney vacation. In fact she’ll turn 11 months while we’re there, and I personally can’t think of a more magical way to ring in 11 months!

Since I’ve been living on the Disney blogs lately and clicking on just about any article with the mention of Disney in it, I can’t help but notice the all too many anti-baby Disney vacationers out there. Since we took our first little girl when she was only 9 months I’ve heard it all when it comes to vacationing to Disney World with babies. “They’re too young, they won’t remember anything.” “We’re not taking our kids until they are old enough to enjoy it and remember it themselves.” “You’re only going to Disney for yourself when your baby is that young.” “You’re only taking them now because they’re free.” “Vacationing with babies is too much work, I’d rather wait to all of my kids are out of diapers.” 

Honestly does this look like a face of a baby who didn’t enjoy her Disney vacation? disney (2)

While I’m a huge advocate for traveling with babies there are some truths to the arguments some people say. Yes, babies don’t travel light and if you think you’re back won’t hurt from the constant carrying or stroller pushing you’re sorely mistaken. Yes, your relaxing vacations are a thing of the past. And yes, my babies won’t remember their first vacations, or even their second or third. But I bet we will, right? first disney vaca (5)

So why do we plan Disney vacations every year while are babies are under 1, 2, 3, and even 4? That’s easy. We’re making family memories. Dan and I traveled plenty before we had kids and we knew once our family grew that we’d want to keep travelling with kids in tow. We decided long ago that we wanted to show our girls the world. For now it’ll be Disney World but in the future they’ll see plenty more. For now we’re enjoying watching them smile, laugh, and clap to the Disney parades, be held and snuggled by Cinderella in her castle, and sit front and center on Main Street, so tiny and staring in awe at the humongous castle in front of them. And every one of these memories we’ve taken pictures and videos of. Our girls may or may not remember these firsts but we will and we’ll always be able to show them. first disney vaca (3)

Are Disney vacations easy with babies? No, but there is nothing better than seeing your baby’s eyes light up when they see everything Disney for the first time. It’s worth every extra pound in our suitcases of foods, bottles, formula, and diapers just to see those precious reactions. It’s exhausting, but that’s Disney in general, and it’s so worth it. So my vote, if you can, take your babies to Disney World. The memories that you make together as a family will mean so much to you and to your little one too. And yes, they are free, which is a bonus! first disney vaca (1)

So for us, in just a few short weeks we’re Disney bound as a family of four, and are ready to watch our little blondie fall in love with Disney like her sister did, hopefully haha. But I have a good feeling. After all, she tries to snag her sister’s precious Mickey, who by the way was her first friend from Disney World, every chance she gets. I guess we know who her first Disney friend will be too!

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Until then, pardon the pixie dust over here on my blog. Between house selling and buying, dance recitals, first birthdays approaching, and too much more, life has been crazy. Plus I’m kind of undergoing a bit of a blogging transformation. With two little girls now and a brand new adventure starting, which I promise I’ll fill you in on soon, life has changed quite a bit and my blog has too. So stay tuned for our Disney adventures, life with two little girls, and some brand new gluten free additions.

Sincerely,

Lindsay

Spring Is Here And We Have Some Exciting News!

Okay so we’re officially into Spring, as my allergies could tell you. Even though the Zyrtec hasn’t kicked in yet we celebrated our first Easter as a family of four. Everything about Easter I love, the flowers (minus the sneezing and puffy eyes), the Spring Day weather (usually), and of course the excitement that the holiday brings. And even though it was chillier this Easter, both of my girls still loved it all, from start to finish.

Easter (1) Bunny Hat, JWhiteFlower, LLC on Etsy

This adorable bunny celebrated her first Easter and she loved every bit of it! We kicked off the day with early Easter baskets. Our toddler was amazed at the goodies, I just love the complete and total surprise look on her face. Even better, the bunny paw prints which she couldn’t stop staring at. Our tiniest girl woke up early too and through her sleepy eyes managed to meet her new soft Disney friends and dig into her Easter basket a little. After a quick breakfast, the girls were in their best Easter dresses and ready for church. And the rest of the day was filled with Easter egg hunts, a great gluten free dinner, family, and a new Disney movie from Mommy and Daddy. All ending with two very sleepy girls, getting a head start on their bedtime by a good hour and a half. Easter (2)

With Easter 2016 added to our photo album, it’s onto normal Spring fun and then DISNEY!!!! We couldn’t be more excited for our first vacation as a family of four! But before then we’re starting another chapter in our family’s book by officially putting our house up for sale.  Easter (3)

The whole idea of moving is a horrible concept to me. The unknown of where we’re going, if our own house will sell, the actual act of packing and moving, finding a new house that feels like our home, and the idea of change now with two little girls. But even though moving isn’t overly appealing, this was our starter house. We started here before there were two little us’s, before there was our fur daughter, even before we were married. We bought this house, made it a home, and shared so many amazing memories. We brought our newborn baby girls home here, we spent our first years as a married couple here, we brought out first official furrier baby home here, and we celebrated milestone after milestone right here. Wait, why are we moving again? Oh yeah, but we’re kind of outgrowing it now. Our family has grown and we’re ready to start a new adventure.   Easter

The hardest part for me is leaving our house behind. It’s beautiful and holds such an important piece of our story, But even though it’s a little sad, we’re just as excited to see where our future will be. So now the real fun begins. Selling and buying, yay! Wish us luck!

Sincerely,

Lindsay

A NEW Gluten Free Find: Jules Thin Crust

Even with a toddler and baby we’re stilling going strong with our adventures. And our dinners out haven’t slowed down too much either, well maybe a few less since we’re in the middle of cold/flu season.  Admittedly we’re creatures of habit, okay really just me, but I like what I like and we tend to order in or dine out at the same rotation of restaurants. Happy to report we just added a regular to the rotation!

I’m always on the lookout for new gluten free options. And I have high standards when it comes to a try out, I’m talking a gluten free menu that includes more than three items that just omit sauce and side and offer plain meat. So when I noticed a random post by Gluten Free Philly it felt like fate that I was introduced to Jules Thin Crust. HOMEMADE pizza crust, not frozen, with over 25 pizza combinations, thanks to all gluten free toppings! Too good to be true? This is totally true I promise! And I have to spoil the surprise with a sneak peak at a pie!

Jules Thin Crust (3)

A little about Jules Thin Crust, they have locations on the West and East Coast so if you see a location close enough for a day trip, it’s worth it, trust me. The best part though, they don’t just have a gluten free menu with the little “Eat at your own risk” disclosure, they are really GLUTEN FREE! They’ve worked with the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America to make sure their gluten free dough is safe. The ingredients we all know are only half the battle but the staff here too are trained and well trained to prevent contamination. Good news for any gluten free diner!

Okay now the good stuff. The pies are AMAZING! They come in two sizes, mini and medium which is huge as is. They’re prepped and cooked safely, topped with any of their toppings and sauces, all of which are certified gluten free. Now for everyone else their pies are already made and just need warming, ours are custom made which takes about 12 minutes. But a little wait is worth it because once your pie arrives on a pizza word with gluten free labeled paper underneath you’ll be more than ready to dig right in.

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So the pizza…was….AMAZING!!! I opted for half plain and half pesto tomato, yes you can do that here too. The combos are endless and all gluten free, yes I know I said it already but it’s just so exciting. The crust is deliciously thin, a little crispy but soft too making a perfect pizza option for me. And fresh, nothing beats a fresh pizza crust, not frozen, textureless and flavorless like too many others. The toppings go right to the edge, everything is perfectly seasoned and just phenomenal. They have so many options I honestly had trouble choosing what to try. Check out all of the pizza options Jules Thin Crust Menu!

Yes I included the soda because they have so much more that’s gluten free. From a list of gluten free beverages, which you never see, salads, and desserts too, they just kept impressing me! And even though I hardly finished my pizza, my toddler insisted on a sweet treat, so I happily obliged. She picked out a sprinkle butterfly cookie, soft and freshly packaged and it was delicious. 

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From start to finish the meal was perfect and the experience even better. All of the staff knew just what to do and how to answer every question. Good food and good staff, win win! Even better, my daughters, one of which got to actually taste the food, and my husband loved the dinner as well. We’ll definitely be back, and very soon!

Thanks Jules Thin Crust for making gluten free living a little more enjoyable!

Sincerely,

Lindsay

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